Deputy PM okays underground shopping center at Ben Thanh station

17:08 | 27/12/2016 Society

Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh has agreed in principle to build an underground shopping center in downtown Ho Chi Minh City along side the city’s first metro line project.  

Ben Thanh Market in HCM City, where an underground shopping center is set to be built (Photo: VNA)

The deputy PM has asked the municipal people’s committee to seek funds from Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans to develop the Ben Thanh underground shopping center project.

The city administration has been asked to work with the ministries of Planning and Investment, Construction and Finance to choose the most appropriate solution and report to the Government for consideration.

The underground 90 metre-wide and 500 metre-long shopping area will run from Ben Thanh Market to the HCM City Opera House at a depth of three metres under Le Loi Street.

With an area of 45,000 square metres, the shopping centre will be the largest underground shopping center in Vietnam, according to Bui Xuan Cuong, head of the management board of the urban railways in HCM City.

Stores will face each other in the shopping area, enabling the space in the middle to function as a walking street, Cuong said, adding that the underground walking street will be connected with the Nguyen Hue pedestrian street.

There will also be entrances that connect the underground shopping center with Ben Thanh market, stores and office buildings above ground in the downtown area.

The underground trade center will require an investment of around 7 trillion VND (326.22 million USD).

The project has so far attracted only one interested investor from Japan, which has suggested funding 30 percent of the project, while the remaining would be covered by the Vietnamese Government.

If approved, the underground shopping center will be constructed along with the Ben Thanh central station of the under-construction metro route in the southern metropolis.

From the central station, passengers can board the trains on three different routes to Suoi Tien Amusement Park in District 9, Tham Luong Depot in District 12, and Mien Tay (Western) Bus Station in Binh Tan District under a megaproject running from 2012 to 2023.

Construction of Ben Thanh central station and an underground section from there to the Opera House under the city’s first metro line began last month.

It is the last of four phases of the 19.7 km metro line linking Ben Thanh market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Amusement Park in District 9.

Of the 19.7 km, 2.6 km is underground. It will have three underground and 11 elevated stations.

The test runs will begin in 2019 and service a year later, two years behind schedule. The metro route is funded by Japan and reciprocal capital from the city.

Theo VNA